Her hands fidgeted with her jacket and hand bag, with her lips pressed together and a distinct frown between her brows, apprehensive of what he was going to do, next!!
It was a bad… bad move to come to his room!!
Manik had been awestruck the moment he set his eyes on her. She had been looking like an angel, innocent and clueless. Her dress complemented her delicate persona and he was scared to touch her, as if she was made of fine crystal that would disintegrate if not held properly! He couldn’t continue his phone conversation anymore and approached her.
He moved closer to her, right behind her, with his hands on her arms below her shoulders. Slowly, he slid his fingers down, along her arms and forearms, towards her hands and then towards her fingers to hold them strong within his grasp. Her jacket and handbag were taken by him, to place them away at a chair near them.
Securing her hands in his hands, he squeezed her within his arms from behind so that her back was tucked to his chest. She shuddered and clutched his hands, her fingers curling around softly around his hands, making him smile. He lowered his face and gave a feather soft peck on her shoulder. The transparent chiffon material of the dress on her shoulder was no barrier to his warm breath or his soft lips. She could feel both of them.
Using his fingers, he removed her hair to clear them away towards her other shoulder and the next peck was given on the side of her neck, just near the nape, with his hoarse whisper, “You have no idea how gorgeous you look, tonight!!”
The tone of his voice, the husky whispers, the demanding eagerness and the warmth of his ‘trying-hard-to-be-patient’ breaths made her squirm. She could feel the sizzle in the air between them. Their crackling chemistry was so powerful that it could easily take them towards a point of no return. Stepping away from him seemed so tough. To make things worse, she loved every second of this proximity.
He turned her around and smiled at the way she was blushing. Adoringly, he touched her forehead with his own, so close to her that she could feel her heart racing ahead of her mind. Her lips trembled to part for his lips and her breaths ached to mingle with his. She felt like closing her eyes to hold his image in them forever…
She couldn’t wait to tell him how deeply she felt for him. It was a new feeling, an exhilarating realisation and she found it difficult to hold it inside her. He had to know!!
She gathered all her courage and whispered, “Manik…”
“Yeah?” He sighed and drew her closer in his arms with his hands around her back, his forehead over hers and his eyes fixed on hers. It felt as if even he couldn’t have enough of her.
“I want to say something to you…”
“Go ahead…” He waited for her and when she took a few extra seconds to compose herself and construct a sensible sentence to make her confession look sincere and genuine, his patience began to wither, “Yes, Nandini?? You were saying something??”
“Err… Manik…” Her throat went dry. It had appeared so much easier than it actually was!! Her knees began to give way and her saliva seemed stuck at her throat.
“Hmm??” He waited more and in that moment, he brought them much closer than before, in a hug so deep that she was almost engulfed in the space created by his arms and his chest. Holding him at the lapels of his grey blazer, she raised her chin to look at him. His loving smile made her feel as if she was the center of his universe and she couldn’t be bothered at all even if the planet decided to stop rotating on it’s axis today. Her world began and ended with his arms around her.
When she didn’t speak anything, he smirked and nodded at the cute, confused looks on her face. He was enchanted by her moments of speechlessness, confusion and indecision.
As if it wasn’t enough to look this sexy tonight that she had to behave like a lost kitten searching for her home. He loved the look in her eyes… a look of need for him, a look that said that she craved for him, a look that made him feel like he was the anchor to her ship dwindling in the storm! What a confidence booster for a man!!
Her eloquent almond shaped eyes, the quiver of her plump pink lips, the mole under her brow, the two isolated lines of worry on her forehead… there was nothing about her that failed to entice him!! He was fascinated beyond any control!!
On top of that, she had said she wanted to say something and then stayed hopelessly lost within the realms of his arms!!
He smirked and bent his neck forwards, giving her enough room and indication to crane her neck away, if she didn’t want them to kiss. She did nothing like that. She didn’t even move. He took a deep helpless breath and warmly cocooned her in his arms before he kissed her.
She sighed and parted her lips to let him deepen the kiss and to kiss him back, tip toeing despite her high heels, damn his height… Her hands slipped above his shoulders to reach his neck, drawing him closer to her.
How she wished that she didn’t have to say any of those words that she had been hoping to!! How she wished it was understood by mere movement of her lips on his lips…
Momentary pauses to draw in fresh breath of air had no power to deter the intensity and passion of their kiss. A kiss, which refused to slow down even after several moments passed between them. Her fingers left a trail of burning desires on his jawline and his neck, while her sweet breath ensured that he couldn’t move away from her… he didn’t even try to do anything like that…
His phone rang, distracting them. It was kept on the table and the screen displayed the name – ‘Cabir’…
Slowly, he whispered, “I’m sorry, I’ll have to take this. Otherwise, he’ll keep calling, wondering what happened to me.”
“I’ll wait outside…” She quickly collected her jacket and her handbag to move out of his room, even before he could stop her or ask her to wait. She seemed nervous and lost!
Manik treated Cabir with some heavy curses. Cabir could immediately guess that he was with Nandini… he kept laughing and teased him big time!
Quietly, he drove his car and she sat beside him, trying to look absorbed in the surroundings. For the first time, a sense of wordlessness and awkwardness had crept between them and it was nearly suffocating them.
He had chosen a nice, cosy restaurant ‘Luzern Bellwoke’, known for it’s traditional, ethnic decor and food specialities from all over the Switzerland. Paintings from local artists decorated the walls, the entrance and the exteriors.
She took off her jacket and let the stewardess hang it on a stand at the entrance as the interiors were warm and comfortable.
He seemed to know a lot about the food and the dialect. Already in awe of him, she wondered if there was something that he didn’t excel at. It must be hard to find such a thing where he wasn’t an expert. It was justified. From a young age, soon after completion of college and his masters, he had been taking care of Malhotra Group of Industries on his own, had traveled extensively, knew a lot of things just by experience and usage, as compared to her who had never traveled out of Delhi, leave alone, out of India.
It was weird to behave like strangers all over again…
They had no idea what to talk and what to speak. Previously, he had tried to make it less awkward between them, for both the times they had kissed, in her room and in the elevator. But he was not able to do it today.
Because, tonight, he was feeling weird himself!! He had been under the effect of a fire that had begun to consume him, slowly but gradually. He was so dangerously close to her today, feeling so overwhelmed by her cuteness and her softness that it seemed nearly inevitable to take her to bed.
It was a disastrous thought and he knew, he had to get rid of it as soon as possible. He hated that he was thinking on those lines, when all this while, his feelings for Nandini were mainly platonic, except for few momentary lapses during his fantasy trips. But today, something deeper had stirred inside him. He craved for her body so desperately that he had never craved for any woman, ever before.
She stayed quiet and lost, fiddling with the menu book in the restaurant, unable to understand anything in it. He rotated his tongue inside his mouth, fighting with his demons and knew that he had to try and get both of them back to talking normally, like before. But … it was just not happening…
She allowed him to order for both of them as he knew a lot about the food available there. After ordering Emince Zurichoise, Paprika laced mushrooms and Cheese Fondue, he looked at her, appearing casual, to ask if she wanted to add something. She raised her brows, smiled and said, “And Belgian Chocolate Mousse, please!!”
“You have a bit of sweet tooth, right?” At least, he was trying to behave normally.
“Not a bit… I have a huge one!! And you don’t like sweets?? Never seen you order one…”
“Nopes. I love spice more than sweet on my plate!” He lifted his glass to drink water from it, taking a deep breath, finally surviving this unseen challenge.
She was thrilled to be sitting with him, more thrilled than ever before!! Not her fault, she’d prefer to excuse herself. It was a new feeling of your heart strings tugged to someone. She was in love, with the man sitting right before her!!
They had kissed, yet again. It was a beautiful feeling. Out of the world for her!!
It had been awkward though but she had got one more chance to tell him about her feelings and she wasn’t going to waste it. This time, she had to tell him how much she loved him, cared for him and was in awe of him. Even he appeared so much ‘into’ her. It shouldn’t be difficult to share her feelings with him.
At best, he would accept it too and say something about his own feelings. At bad, he was going to tease her. At worst, he was going to reject her completely!!
She was prepared for all three scenarios…
She just wanted to tell him once… Only that, they were not talking. She didn’t have the guts to begin talking again. She was embarrassed. He usually talked to ease her nervousness, but even he was quiet today!!
Unable to interact much, they stayed mostly quiet, talked a bit about the food and stayed busy with other useless small talk, without any sense in it and left the restaurant.
It was the silliest time they had spent together and it had been the most weird date ever!
When they were quiet even after they reached the hotel, and took the stairs dreading the elevator, they both knew that a lot had changed between them. It was going in a wrong direction and they had to do something to ease the growing tension between them.
She decided to talk to him!! He decided to stay quiet and crash to his bed till he slept like a log till the morning.
The corridor was about to end and they had reached outside their rooms. Manik took a deep breath of relief as the ordeal had finally ended. They would now go to their respective rooms, take a good night sleep and begin afresh next morning. Hopefully, all the tension would ease out by the night goes down.
It wasn’t destined that way!!
He turned the key in his door and was about to enter his room when Nandini called him, “Manik!!”
‘Damnnn!! Damnnnn!!! Damnnn!!!’
“Hmm?? Yeah??” He tried hard to keep a straight face when he turned to her.
“Manik… I want to talk to you…” She was looking at him like a cluleless lamb wondering why the lion was sizing her up.
‘God… is she crazy?? Can’t she just let the moment pass…stupid girl!!’
He cleared his throat and stammered, “No… no… no!! I don’t think… that is a … good idea…”
She didn’t open her door. Instead, she reached near him, quite close to him and said, “Please Manik…it’s important! I won’t be able to sleep at night…if I don’t…”
He interrupted her, “Listen Nandu, trust me… this isn’t the right time… we can talk tomorrow? Morning?…yeah??”
She didn’t know why he was avoiding her…she had no idea at all, about the turmoil going inside him… she was bothered about her own emotions…
“Why?? Why morning?? Are you sleepy?? Can’t we talk right now??” Irritated at him, trying to avoid her, she lifted her chin to ask.
He scratched his jawline stubble with his index finger, clearly frustrated, and huffed, “Okay, say it quickly… and leave…”
“How rude is that?? Manik Malhotra, I had never expected yo…”
“Nandini, cut it short… say what you want to say and please let me go inside my room!” He rolled his eyes.
She wondered why she started to grumble, “I can’t say it here in the corridor…And why are you getting so irritated??… Do you really think you can behave like the way you want to… you didn’t talk for the entire time in the restaurant… I felt like I was dining with a stranger…. now you are suddenly so angry with me…”
“Listen, I am not angry…”
“You are!! Look at the way you are frowning…and scolding me… you hardly do that when you are in a good mood… what happened that your mood was spoilt so much … you didn’t like the food??”
“Dammnnnn… you won’t keep quiet, na??”
“Manik, I’m just trying to…” She was confused why he was so angry at her, so suddenly.
“Fine…” Unable to control anymore, he held her face in his palms and kissed her. So deeply, so quickly, tucking her to the wall in the corridor, between their rooms that she was left stunned. She held his wrists and inhaled deeply, his musk cologne, his mouth freshener, his breath… and kissed him back, passionately.
After a moment, he paused for air and raised his face. He appeared to struggle with himself, looking into her eyes, only to turn the key inside the door and opened it. He entered his room and tugged her inside with him. Behind the closed door, he kissed her again. She had been waiting for this kiss, impatiently and compulsively.
“Manik…” She moaned his name over his lips, as her lungs stifled for air.
Already helpless under her captivating spell, her fingers, her kisses and then his name coming from her mouth, he lost even the last trace of any hope, any power of sane judgement.
For now, nothing seemed to make any more sense to him, than him and her, together… with their bodies and legs entwined into each other, making the most absorbing, intense, amazing love in the world.
He bent and lifted her in a scoop within his arms and carried her to his bed. She was feather light to hold and so soft to carry. She held him to balance her, staring at him cluelessly. She was speechless and tongue tied. On one hand, she loved him. More than anything… He had been kissing her and he wanted her so much. It was evident in his moves! She wanted him too… but she was scared…
They had been kissing but did it mean the same for him, as it meant for her?? He had indicated that he was prepared for more intimacy…what did he mean… It couldn’t be said for sure… they were in Europe. It wasn’t a big issue here, or anywhere these days… to sleep with someone, even if the feelings were not serious….
But not for her!! She was not someone who would ever sleep with a man for casual sex.
Slowly, he laid her on his bed and followed her, taking his arm around her to hold her close to him, while his foot slid along the length of her leg. His lips tracing a path over her collar bone, left deep imprints on her skin, moving towards her neck and chin, kissing her like never before, while his hands reached for the zip of her dress at the back. Before he could slide it down to get rid of her pretty dress, she sighed and stiffened, restraining him with her palm on his chest, slightly moving away from him. Confused at that, he searched her eyes for answers but found none.
Unable to understand her, he asked, “You don’t want to… ?”
She nodded to refuse and pressed her lips together in apprehension.
His jaw appeared to tighten as he clenched his teeth into each other, with visible lines of irritation deepening on his forehead, “You … you don’t trust me…”
She replied, in a low whisper, “Manik…it’s not about trust… It’s like… I’m not comfortable!”
Taking a deep breath, he removed his hands and leg away from her, and sat on the bed with his legs folded. She sat back too.
“Thanks for not forcing yourself on me…” She was truly touched.
“Shut up!!” He lovingly and carelessly whispered like all other sweet nothings he spoke to her and then asked her in a warm and considerate voice, “Not comfortable? Why?? I thought, we enjoy every moment we spend with each other. At least, I do !”
She had been clasping and unclasping her fingers with each other, “Me too! I love spending time with you, Manik…but…”
“But??” He waited for her to share what she felt about being intimate with him.
“We need to talk first!!”